COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal feels his team’s evolution this year means they are less reliant on individual flair.

The U’s head into their League Two game against Morecambe tomorrow at the Weston Homes Community Stadium having lost just once in their last eight league outings.

They have taken 17 points in that run to now sit just two points outside the play-off places and McGreal feels it has been a true team effort.

He admitted that his side relied on some individuals to win them games last year, but is glad to see that their current success is a collective thing.

“The team is learning as a group,” he said.

“There is a lot of hard work and we’re finding different ways of winning games.

“There are also different players affecting games now.

“Last season, there tended to be three or four names who were really affecting games.

“They tended to be attacking players, but we’re now seeing a lot of defenders winning plaudits, which is great. Sam Walker is also getting a lot of praise, which is good for him as well.

“It is a lot more about a team game now, especially on this run that we have been on.

“It is very healthy to have that.

“If you have important players taken out and they are stifled then things can break down, but at the minute, I couldn’t tell you who is going to get our winner.

“It really has been collective rather than individual.

“No-one has been winning games on their own and when you look back to last season we had the likes of Brennan (Dickenson), (Kurtis) Guthrie and (Chris) Porter who were doing that then.

“This year it has been a team thing.”

A lot of the U’s recent success has been built on them being solid at the back and McGreal feels their adaptability in defence has helped them concede just five times in the last eight league games.

“We have been very good defensively of late,” added McGreal.

“But that’s all through hard work on the training pitch.

“We have been able to get a nice balance and adapt it from a four to a three so we can change things around.

“Going back to the Grimsbys, Yeovils and Mansfields, we were playing a back four, but we’ve reverted to a back three of late.

“However, we know we can go back to a four very easily.

“That only comes through work on the training ground.”

Meanwhile, the U’s boss said that no decisions had been made on whether they would bid to retain players in the squad who they have on loan from other clubs once any current arrangements run out after Christmas.

“I haven’t made any decisions on anyone and we have to look at things like budgets.

“At this minute, it’s still six or seven weeks away.

“We’ve looked at the dates that loans can be renewed and that’s not until the first two weeks in January.

“We are talking to the representatives of them, but we’re also letting them play as they are hungry and want to play.”